Bulgaria: National Palace of Culture to light blue for World Refugee Day
The National Palace of Culture (NDK), in Sofia will be lit in the colour blue on the evening of 20 June to mark World Refugee Day. The initiative is part of UNHCR’s, the UN Refugee Agency, marking of the international day to honour people who have been forced to flee.
World Refugee Day falls each year on 20 June and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. At the end of 2022, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced globally — a record number propelled by the war in Ukraine and other conflicts around the world.
This year’s World Refugee Day theme is Hope away from home – a world where refugees are always included.
“In a world in turmoil where people are compelled to flee, our support to refugees begins with the way we speak about them,” said Seda Kuzucu, UNHCR Representative in Bulgaria. “In recent years, Bulgaria has shown its solidarity with refugees, now it takes the whole of society working together to give refugees more hope and more opportunities while they are away from home.”
The most effective way to support refugees is by including them in the communities where they have found safety — this means ensuring they can apply for jobs, enrol in schools, and access services like housing and healthcare. Inclusion paves the way for long-term solutions for refugees and displaced people, allowing them to thrive in a new country or preparing them for a safe return to their home countries.
World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs, dreams, and contributions of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources and to bring together governments, refugees and host community representatives, local authorities, cities and other local actors, international organizations within and outside the United Nations system, regional organizations, humanitarian and development actors, international and regional financial institutions, parliaments, civil society organizations, faith-based actors, the private sector, media, academics, and sport and cultural organizations. While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution. Many activities held on World Refugee Day create opportunities to support refugees.
The lighting in blue of buildings and monuments is a symbol of support for refugees and around the world examples have been the Jet d’Eau in Geneva where UNHCR’s headquarters are located, the Empire State Building in New York, the Colosseum in Rome, the Tokyo Tower, and many others.
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